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China aims to provide a positioning and navigation service by 2012

by diane 2010-02-02 01:55

By 2012 China is intending to launch 10 Beidou navigation satellites in order to build its version of Global Positioning System (GPS).

The Beidou Compass Navigation Satellite System, which will be completed in 2020 with 35 satellites, will enable China to shake off its dependence on GPS and achieve huge economic benefits," said Pang Zhihao, a senior researcher with the China Academy of Space Technology.

Navigation systems deliver data from satellites that provide travelers, drivers, and military officials directions on locations and travel advice.

The third Beidou satellite will lift off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province at "an appropriate moment soon", atop a Long March-3C carrier, the center said on Friday in a statement.

Both the rocket and the satellite are now in sound condition and ready for launch, it said.

As only two have been launched so far, this means China has to launch 10 satellites in two to three years.

The system is expected to be completed with a constellation of 35 navigation satellites - five geo-stationary satellites and 30 non-geostationary satellites - and provide global service by 2020.

The Beidou system will rival the US-developed GPS, the EU's Galileo and Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System, experts said.

At present, nearly 200 million people worldwide are using GPS devices for positioning and navigation service, and GPS earns $120 billion a year.

Meanwhile, an independent navigation satellite system will strengthen information security.

"Modern weapons, including guided missiles and missile defense systems, all need information supported by navigation satellites," said Peng Guangqian, a Beijing-based senior military strategist.

"Relying on other navigation satellite systems for such information is impossible in wartime," he said.

Moreover, multiple navigation systems will benefit users, since a single source could become unstable.

Cao Chong, a leading expert with China's Association of Global Navigating Satellite Systems, urged international cooperation on global navigation satellite systems to avoid widespread problems if one system fails.

"If countries could strengthen cooperation, one system's failure will not have a major impact when there are other systems in place," he said.

 

 

 

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